Worship And The Word -- By: Ron Man

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 09:3 (Summer 2000)
Article: Worship And The Word
Author: Ron Man

Worship And The Word

Ron Man

The Word of God is of supreme importance in the life of the Christian, containing as it does God’s revelation of his person, his will, and his ways. The Word needs to be pored over, ingested into one’s mind and heart, meditated on, and acted upon. It is a unique and precious repository of spiritual truth, guidance, and encouragement. There is no aspect of the life of the church or of the individual believer that should not be tied to a scriptural mooring and infused with biblical substance (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is indeed “a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

When Christians gather for corporate worship, it is logical that the Word of God should play a central and dominant role. Since worship involves focusing our thoughts and hearts and voices on the praise of God, in response to his self-revelation and his gracious saving initiative, we need that view of God which the Word alone gives us if our worship is to be “in-truth” (John 4:23–24). Our worship can only duly honor God if it accurately reflects what he reveals about himself in his Word.

John Stott explains in this way the crucial importance of the Word for worship:

To worship God ... is to “glory in his holy name” (Psalm 105:3), that is, to revel adoringly in who he is in his revealed character. But before we can glory in God’s name, we must

know it. Hence the propriety of the reading and preaching of the Word of God in public worship, and of biblical meditation in private devotion. These things are not an intrusion into worship; they form the necessary foundation of it. God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to him. He must disclose to us who he is before we can offer him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.1

Worship is often understood as a dialogue of revelation and response between God and his people.2 If that is true, then obviously both sides of the equation must be present.3

So far so good. However, there are today some imbalances in churches’ understanding of the Word’s proper role in worship. Two of these will be discussed below.

The Word “Versus” Worship?

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